Fantasy warfare: 5 current vs. classic SmackDown battles we need to see

SmackDown 1000 is almost here, and that has us reflecting on nearly 20 years of incredible battles that have taken place on the blue brand. Still, there are some matches we can’t help but dream about, featuring Superstars from Team Blue’s past taking on the best the present has to offer. These 5 are our top fantasy dream matches. What matches would you want to see? Let us know in the comments below and on social media!

Samoa Joe vs. Batista

There’s nothing more intense and exciting than two titans of the squared circle slugging it out. That alone makes the prospects of a bout between Batista and Samoa Joe simply thrilling.

Batista made his bones inside the squared circle by overwhelming his opposition with devastating power and unmatched fury. However, Samoa Joe would likely take pleasure in hunting The Animal. Joe can be just as rage-fueled as Batista and trade blows with the best of them, but he’s at his best when he’s calm and collected, stalking his prey, pummeling them and softening them up for his excruciating Coquina Clutch.

What would happen when these two powerhouses collide? Would Batista’s animalistic tendencies overwhelm The Samoan Submission Machine, or would Samoa Joe make The Animal go night-night? Either way, the WWE Universe would be in for a rollercoaster ride of a match. — BOBBY MELOK

The Bar vs. The APA

When it comes to rough-and-tumble tandems that are just as comfortable in a barroom as they are in a high-stakes title bout, no two teams come to mind as quickly as The Bar and The Acolyte Protection Agency, better known as The APA.

Before “setting the bar” on SmackDown LIVE, Sheamus & Cesaro were kicking in teeth and knocking blocks off over on Raw, racking up four Raw Tag Team Championships. Faarooq & Bradshaw, meanwhile, accrued three World Tag Team Title reigns during The Attitude Era, personifying that controversial era not only with hard-hitting in-ring clashes against teams like The Dudley Boyz, The New Age Outlaws and Edge & Christian, but by serving as muscle-for-hire as paid mercenaries for any Superstar with deep pockets.

Both born out of a love of putting fists and boots to their opponents’ faces, these roughneck duos are cut from the same (likely stained) cloth, so a match pitting them against each other would be the stuff of dreams and just might set a WWE record for most bruises sustained in a single match! — JAMES WORTMAN

Charlotte Flair vs. Michelle McCool

Michelle McCool was in many ways the precursor to Charlotte Flair. Tall, powerful and supremely athletic, McCool acquired championships a plenty as she dominated SmackDown at the turn of the decade. The Flawless Superstar bowed out from in-ring competition in her prime, which was a shame for many reasons — one of the biggest being that she never got the chance to throw down with Flair.

The Queen has undoubtedly picked up the torch that McCool laid down, and she has scorched SmackDown LIVE and the WWE Universe, with many arguing that she may already be the greatest female Superstar in WWE history. And, despite both having faced Hall of Fame competition, neither woman has ever quite had an opponent like the other.

It seems safe to assume that McCool would rely on her patented mean streak (you haven’t lived until you’ve seen her destroy an opponent’s face with a kick that holds no regard for human life), while Charlotte would try to best MiMi on the mat.

This dream match is one we wouldn’t want to wake up from. — RYAN PAPPOLLA

AJ Styles vs. Rey Mysterio

Rey Mysterio electrified SmackDown when he arrived in 2002, quickly establishing himself as one of the greatest highfliers to ever lace up a set of boots on the brand. Mysterio had a habit of creating instant classics with whomever stood across the ring, but since 2016, that honor belongs to AJ Styles. The Phenomenal One has turned SmackDown into The House that AJ Styles Built with his heart-racing offense and innovative move set.

If these highfliers were to cross paths inside a set of blue ropes, the pace would be so quick that you wouldn’t have time to blink — yet alone pick your jaws up off the floor. Picture it now: Mysterio sets up for a hurricanrana, but Styles counters with the Styles Clash, or Mysterio ducks a Phenomenal Forearm for a 619. Either way, the reversals will be one-of-a-kind, and the match will be unforgettable. — JEFF LABOON

Daniel Bryan vs. Kurt Angle

It bears repeating but goodness gracious, (first-ever WWE) great balls of fire (pay-per-view event), we are living in a world where Daniel Bryan and Kurt Angle could, conceivably, have a match. For those of you who are new to the game, this is a Very Big Deal: A tussle between the pre-eminent grapplers from the Attitude and Reality Eras has been the biggest white whale for sports-entertainment fans this side of Undertaker vs. Sting, and our plan is to pretty much advocate for this match until it happens. Can Daniel Bryan kick a man if his ankle’s been snapped? Does Angle still have the grit to get out of the “Yes!” Lock? We’re just a little red (as in Raw) tape away, and we might finally get the answers. — ANTHONY BENIGNO

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